However, according to MAS director of operations, Capt Izham Ismail, the programme has been stopped recently though he gave no reason for this.
“Yes, a large number of applicants used to apply for this training programme and on completion of training, they were absorbed by MAS. The duration of the programme is between 18 and 24 months. We bore the costs initially but the cadet had to pay back through salary deductions once employed,” he says.
Currently, contrary to public perception, there are no foreigners employed as pilots in MAS. The contracts of expatriate pilots were apparently terminated in September 2012. No pilots have been retrenched either.
Capt Izham says, “Recruitment of pilots is very much dependent on MAS' network and fleet size.
“In 2011, MAS recruited B737-rated expatriate pilots (both captains and co-pilots) to fill the shortage as the result of a change in the company's business plan. Rated pilots can be deployed immediately to continue our operations as compared to the normal process of promotion which will take about six months.”
While MAS has stopped its programme, AirAsia continues to take in cadets to ensure there is a constant supply of pilots.
Approximately 2,000 applications are received every year but only 20 to 50 suitable candidates are hired, subject to demand.
“This number varies depending on what is forecast within the market supply. Remember that this programme is to fill up positions two years away. We cannot wait and hope that there is market supply as the effect is significant in ensuring our growth can continue,” says an AirAsia spokesman.
He points out that the present glut was not caused by the cadet programme.
“No one knows the future. The demand may increase or reduce, subject to industry fluctuations but we need to ensure we have the supply to support our future growth. The issue of manpower supply is critical worldwide. We need experienced workforce, too, besides grassroots supply.”
AirAsia has 700 pilots at the moment, excluding AirAsia X. A small percentage is made up of foreigners.
The spokesman explains, “The foreigners we have are needed to support the growth while we continuously promote from within. We cannot just promote pilots without sufficient experience to captains.
“Junior pilots or first officers need time to gain exposure and experience before they can be promoted. There is a minimum experience and standards that they need to meet. We use foreign, experienced pilots only to bridge the gap to support the growth as one of the fastest growing companies in the aviation industry.” - By REVATHI MURUGAPPAN
Article taken from TheStar
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